Rules of the Standing Committees of the North Carolina State Bar
Section .0100 Procedures for Ruling on Questions of Legal Ethics
.0104 Formal Ethics Opinions and Ethics Decisions
(a) Requests for formal ethics opinions or ethics decisions shall be made in writing and submitted to the executive director or assistant executive director who, after determining that
a request is in compliance with Rule .0102 of this subchapter, shall transmit the requests to the chairperson of the committee.
(b) If a formal ethics opinion or ethics decision is requested concerning contemplated or actual conduct of another attorney, that attorney shall be given an opportunity to be heard by the committee, along with the person who requested the opinion, under such guidelines as may be established by the committee. At the discretion of the chairperson and the committee, additional persons or groups shall be notified by the method deemed most appropriate by the chairperson and provided an opportunity to be heard by the committee.
(c) Upon initial consideration of the request, by vote of a majority of the members of the committee present at the meeting, the committee shall prepare a written proposed response to the inquiry and shall determine whether to issue the response as a proposed ethics decision or a proposed formal ethics opinion. Prior to the next regularly scheduled meeting of the committee, all proposed formal ethics opinions shall be published and all proposed ethics decisions shall be circulated to the members of the council.
(d) Prior to the next regularly scheduled meeting of the committee, any interested person or group may submit a written request to reconsider a proposed formal ethics opinion or a proposed ethics decision and may ask to be heard by the committee. The committee, under such guidelines as it may adopt, may allow or deny such request.
(e) Upon reconsideration of a proposed formal ethics opinion or proposed ethics decision, the committee may, by vote of not less than a majority of the duly appointed members of the committee, revise the proposed formal ethics opinion or proposed ethics decision. Prior to the next regularly scheduled meeting of the committee, all revised proposed formal ethics opinions shall be published and all revised proposed ethics decisions shall be circulated to the members of the council.
(f) Upon completion of the process, the committee shall determine, by a vote of not less than a majority of the duly appointed members of the committee, whether to transmit a proposed formal ethics opinion or proposed ethics decision to the council with a recommendation to adopt.
(g) Any interested person or group may request to be heard by the council prior to a vote on the adoption of a proposed formal ethics opinion or ethics decision. Whether permitted to appear before the council or not, the person or group has the right to file a written brief with the council under such rules as may be established by the council.
(h) The council's action on a proposed formal ethics opinion or ethics decision shall be determined by vote of the majority of the council present and voting. Notice of such action shall be provided to interested persons by the method deemed most appropriate by the chairperson.
(i) A formal ethics opinion or ethics decision may be reconsidered or withdrawn by the council pursuant to rules which it may establish from time to time.
(j) To vote, a member of the committee must be physically present at a meeting.
History Note: Statutory Authority G.S. 84-23
Readopted Effective December 5, 1994
Amended March 8, 1998, February 5, 2004
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